SUMNER – The Board of Selectmen will hold a special town meeting Tuesday to consider a revised barking-dogs ordinance that has raised complaints among some residents, particularly hunters.

Board Chairman Tom Standard said last week that complaints have been lodged against one resident whose hunting dogs were disturbing neighbors with their barking when they were outside. The town asked the resident to move his dogs to another location on his property and he complied, but neighbors still complained, Standard said.

The town’s animal control officer has told the board that the language in Sumner’s original ordinance on barking dogs was vague, and therefore the ordinance could not be used to prosecute someone who violated it.

Standard said the ordinance is being revised so the language is more clear, but that has created some controversy. “We are writing a clearer one,” he said.

Standard said some residents who hunt and own hunting dogs were opposed to language that stated dogs must be kept “in control” by their owners at all times.

“The hunters told us, if your dog is retrieving something and running, it’s not in control,” he said. “We put an exception in the ordinance for hunters.”

Standard said hopefully the special town meeting will help resolve other issues that residents may have with the new ordinance.

“We may have a lot of people show up, we may have no one show up. I just don’t know,” he said.

The town meeting will be immediately followed by a regular board meeting.



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